Women's Basketball Heads to Kent State, Akron

Dec. 17, 2002

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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After taking eight days off for finals, the Arizona State Sun Devils return to action this week, taking their first road trip of the year. Off to a 6-1 start, the best since the 1999-00 team opened the year with a 7-1 mark, the Sun Devils play the first leg of a four-game road trip, traveling to Kent State on Wednesday, Dec. 18 and Akron on Friday, Dec. 20. The Sun Devils return to action after a 76-53 victory over Denver on Dec. 9, which ended a stretch of seven straight home games for the team. Following the team's jaunt to the Buckeye State, Arizona State will take six days off for the holidays before meeting up in the Bay Area for the team's Pac-10 Conference opening weekend at Stanford (Dec. 27) and California (Dec. 29). Kent State brings a 3-4 record into this week's matchup with the Sun Devils, most recently downing Maine and Youngstown State, while Akron is 1-6 on the year and has dropped its last two games to Maine and Florida State.

In the Series with Kent State and AkronThis week's games will mark the first meetings between Arizona State and Kent State and Akron. Two years ago, Kent State traveled to Tempe for the 2000 ASU Holiday Classic, but the Sun Devils did not play the Golden Flashes in the tournament. The Sun Devils hold a 3-1 all-time record vs. teams in the Mid-American Conference, including a 70-62 victory over Northern Illinois on Nov. 25 at Wells Fargo Arena earlier this year.

Just Say NoeFreshman Jill Noe has been named the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Dec. 9-15, Commissioner Tom Hansen announced on Monday.

Noe, a 5-10 guard from Tualatin, Ore., came within one rebound and one assist of recording the 13th triple-double in Pac-10 history in ASU's 76-53 defeat of Denver on Dec. 9. Noe finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, adding six steals in 26 minutes of play. She shot 7-of-11 (.636) from the field, including a 75.0 percent clip (3-of-4) from 3-point range. Noe also recorded two blocked shots and committed no turnovers as the Sun Devils posted their 14th win in their last 15 games at Wells Fargo Arena.

Noe has done it all for the Sun Devils this year, pacing the team in scoring (14.4 ppg), rebounding (5.9 rpg), three-point field goal percentage (.464), free throw percentage (.857) and steals (19). She ranks second in the Pac-10 in free throw shooting, third in three-point shooting, fourth in steals and seventh in scoring. She has scored in double figures six times in seven games this year and has paced the team in scoring in four of ASU's seven contests this season, including the last three.

The Pac-10 Player of the Week honor is the first of Noe's career and the 22nd all-time selection for Arizona State.

Offensive FirepowerAfter leading the Pac-10 in most defensive categories in the last two years, this year's Sun Devils have also shown a little offensive firepower so far this year. In ASU's seven regular-season games, the team is averaging 72.4 points per game which ranks fourth in the Pac-10, including 82 in their season-opening win over Chicago State on Nov. 22. The team also ranks third in the Pac-10 in field goal and three-point percentage, shooting 44.1 percent from the field (179-406) and 39.3 percent from three-point land (35-89).

Arizona State also owns the top two shooting performances in the Pac-10 so far this season, knocking down a season-high 58.8 percent (30-51) of its attempts vs. Denver on Dec. 9 and 58.2 percent (31-53) vs. Chicago State in the team's season-opener on Nov. 22.

Ball TheftsThe Sun Devils are leading the Pac-10 in steals this season, averaging 12.9 steals per game. The team had a season-high 20 steals vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the championship game of the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic on Nov. 30 and 19 in their victory over Denver on Dec. 9. ASU has tallied at last 10 steals in five of seven games this year. Freshman Jill Noe leads the team and ranks fourth in the Pac-10 with 2.7 thefts per game, while four Sun Devils have 10 steals or more on the year.

Last Time OutFreshman Jill Noe just missed a triple-double with 17 points, nine assists and nine rebounds as ASU rolled to a 76-53 victory over Denver Dec. 9 at Wells Fargo Arena.

The Sun Devils controlled the game from the beginning, jumping out to an 11-0 lead with 16:13 left in the first half. Noe turned in 10 points, six rebounds, six assists, five steals and two blocks in the first 20 minutes as Arizona State rebounded from its loss to Notre Dame with a 59.3 percent shooting effort (16-27) in the first half. Freshman Amy Denson came off the bench with an inspired 5-of-5 shooting performance for 10 points in the first half, while the Sun Devils led by as many as 18 points in the first half en route to a 38-25 halftime lead.

The second half provided much of the same as the Sun Devils opened up a 22-point lead with an 11-2 run to begin the period. Arizona State led by as many as 27 points, and the Pioneers never got closer than 18 points down the stretch as the Sun Devils rolled to the 76-53 victory. Noe added another seven points, three rebounds, three assists and a steal in the second half as she came close to recording just the third triple-double in Arizona State history before leaving the game with just under four minutes left with a slight leg bruise.

Noe led the team in just about every category with 17 points, nine rebounds, nine assists, six steals and two blocks, while Denson knocked down all seven of her attempts from the field and a pair of free throws for 16 points. Freshman Kristen Kovesdy had 10 points, while senior Rainy Crisp turned in another solid effort with five assists, four steals and two points.

For Denver, senior guard Ashley Atkinson had 16 points, knocking down all four of her three-point attempts, while sophomore forward Nicky Eason had 11 points. Junior forward Stephanie Hart led the team with six rebounds.

Young GunsThree of ASU's true freshmen continue to lead the team in scoring with guard Jill Noe first in both categories at 14.4 points and 5.9 boards per contest. Noe has led the team in scoring in each of the last three games with a career-best 20 points vs. No. 14 Georgia, 19 vs. No. 9 Notre Dame and 17 vs. Denver. Freshmen forwards Amy Denson and Kristen Kovesdy are tied for second on the team in scoring at 11.6 ppg and are second and third in rebounding at 5.7 and 5.3 boards per game, respectively. Kovesdy also leads the Sun Devils and is second in the Pac-10 Conference in field goal percentage at 65.0 percent (26-40).

ASU had a true freshman turn in her first career double-double in each of the team's first three games. Noe led the Sun Devils with a double-double in their season-opening victory over Chicago State with 17 points and 10 rebounds, Kovesdy matched the feat with a double-double of her own with 19 points, on 7-of-7 shooting, and 10 rebounds off the bench vs. Northern Illinois, and Denson turned in 12 points and 14 rebounds in ASU's victory over Portland State in the first round of the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic.

Home-Court AdvantageArizona State's Dec. 9 victory over Denver marked the team's 14th win in 15 home games dating back to last year. The Sun Devils had their school-record 13-game home winning streak snapped by No. 9 Notre Dame on Dec. 7. That streak included the team's last eight Pac-10 home contests of last season and its first five games of the 2002-03 season. The previous school record for consecutive home victories was 12, accomplished over the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons. ASU, which played its first seven games of the 2002-03 season at home, has turned in a 41-9 record at Wells Fargo Arena in the last three-plus seasons.

Good StartThe Sun Devils opened this season with a 5-0 record for the first time since the 1991-92 season and are now 6-1 on the year. That 1991-92 team turned in the best start in school history, winning its first nine contests, while this year's 6-1 mark is the best since the 1999-00 Sun Devils opened the season with a 7-1 mark. This year marked the fifth straight season that ASU has opened the year with back-to-back wins, a streak dating back to 1998-99.

Attendance RecordsWith 7,274 fans in attendance at the AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic II on Dec. 27, the Sun Devils set a school single-game attendance record for Wells Fargo Arena. ASU's overall single-game attendance record was 16,728 at the first Hoops for the Cure Classic in December of 2000 at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix. The Sun Devils are ranked fifth in the Pac-10 with 2,037 fans per game so far this year.

In the RankingsArizona State, which has been ranked at times in each of the last two seasons, is receiving votes in each of the national polls (23 votes to rank 31st in the AP poll, 15 votes to rank 35th in the USA Today poll).

Second-Half SurgesThis year's Sun Devils have shown the ability to kick things up a notch in the second half, outscoring their opponents 274-217 over the final 20 minutes this year. ASU has also shot 47.9 percent from the field in the second half this year (95-198), including a 61.5 percent outing vs. Chicago State (16-26) and a 51.5 percent effort vs. Portland State (17-33). Comparatively, the Sun Devils have outscored their opponents just 233-230 and shot just 40.2 percent from the field (99-246) in the first halves of games this year.

Quick Notes

- Arizona State leads the Pac-10 Conference in both steals (12.9) and turnover margin (+5.71).

- The Sun Devils are also turning into one of the league's best free throw shooting teams, ranking second in the Pac-10 in the category at 70.4 percent on the year (114-162). ASU has gone to the line 162 times (23.1 per game) compared to just 97 times for their opponents (13.9). Freshman Jill Noe leads the team and ranks second in the Pac-10 at 85.7 percent (24-28), while freshman Kristen Kovesdy has knocked down 74.4 percent of her attempts from the charity stripe (29-39), which ranks second in the league.

- Freshman Kristen Kovesdy knocked down her first 16 attempts of the season, including a perfect 7-of-7 performance in ASU's season-opening win over Chicago State, 4-of-4 vs. Northern Illinois and her first five shots vs. Portland State. Kovesdy did not miss her first shot until the 11:59 mark of the second half in that game vs. Portland State, ASU's third game of the year.

- Junior Iman Young and sophomore Kylan Loney each rank in the top 10 in the Pac-10 in assists so far this year. Loney leads the team and ranks fourth in the Pac-10 with 3.7 assists per game, while Young is tied for eighth in the league at 3.4 per game. Young also ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.4) with 24 assists and just 10 turnovers.

- Through ASU's first seven games, sophomore Kylan Loney has already knocked down 11 three-pointers and is shooting 44.0 percent from beyond the arc (11-25). Last year, the honorable-mention Pac-10 All-Freshman honoree connected on a total of 14 three-pointers all season.

- The Sun Devil bench has outscored their opponents' reserves in all seven games this year and is averaging 26.4 points per game (185 points). Freshman Kristen Kovesdy, who earned a starting spot vs. Denver, has been the leading scorer off the bench. She came off the bench to lead the team in scoring in two games this year.

- Sophomore guard Kylan Loney earned tournament MVP honors as the Sun Devils won their second straight Wells Fargo Holiday Classic title. Joining Loney on the all-tournament team for the Sun Devils were junior Jen Albert and freshman Amy Denson.

- This year, Arizona State returns just one starter and six letterwinners from its 2001-02 Pac-10 Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament squad (with the losses of junior and two-year starter Betsy Boardman and sophomore forward Alexis Tate to season-ending knee injuries) but has added a recruiting class of five freshmen and one junior college transfer which was ranked in the top 25 in the nation by Blue Star. The 2002-03 Sun Devil active roster is a young one featuring a junior college transfer, three sophomores and six freshmen.

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